Monday, May 31, 2010

questioning my intelligence....among other things

on occasion, there will be times when, i'll just say it, i feel like im better than certain people. there. its out there. particularly the unkempt, beer soaked, over-sexed savages i attend university with. these moments of perceived superiority never last long. i enjoy self deprecating waaaay too much to ever actually maintain and nurture an ego. but the fact remains that i do still like to imagine that i am at least mildly intelligent. but ever so often, i'll have a brief moment of stupidity that will send my little bit of pride into a downward spiral, plummeting back down to earth faster than a frat boy's dignity. one of such moments occured today. thats right: Today, I did something stupid.

disclaimer: if you're expecting a story about some wild college escapade, leave now, or prepare yourself for a tale about as climactic as internal vomiting. being a female college freshman, there's a large range of fun stupid things that i could be doing; one could argue that i SHOULD be doing. good ole' "all American girl" rites of passage like, passing out at a frat house or urinating in public or declaring myself a lesbian. sorry to disappoint, but im simply not that.......interesting?

no. my random act of stupidity involved a car, a hot summer day, and a nap that almost ended my life; 3 ingredients you're probably more accustomed to seeing in stories that start with "negligent mother" and end with "fried baby." (no more baby jokes. last one, i promise) but not this time. no. this story involves a 19 year old girl waiting in a car for her sister, who was visiting a friend; her sister who left her the keys to turn the car on to have the benefit of the ac; and a girl who, instead of leaving the car on, to, you know, stay alive, decided to conserve gas and turn the car off......and proceed to take a nap......for 2 hours. i dont regret the nap at all. in fact, it was probably one of the best id ever taken (slowly roasting your brain cells is surprisingly quite nice). i suppose if you equated this to your typical female's dumb college moment, this would be "the night before" montage; when everything is rosy and i can do no wrong.


needless to say though, i awoke light headed, nauseous, and dizzy, and with an overwhelming feeling that i had done something very bad. we'll call this moment "the morning after."

still, kinnndddd of adorable

i guess my point in all of this is that lately, all of my random acts of stupidity coupled with those inevitable bouts of SIDS have been making me question my common sense. i feel like im living in a Miss Li song:

Deep down I know I'm not a stupid girl,
but still I make all those mistakes.
I know there's a lot of stupid girls in this world,
but i dont want to be like them.

God! I cant believe i'm quoting that

id hate to be one of those book smart people who have no common sense and no wit and personality of their own. The ones who could quite efficiently teach the art, music and literature of others, but have themselves produced nothing of significance. this was only recently brought to my attention when talking with a friend over the phone. i was telling her about how i've been considering majoring in art history. she, a film major (sorry IndieDay) then proceeded to go on a mini-rant about how she wanted to create her own art, and not waste time studying that of others (normally, my opinions and goals aren't so easily shaken by the words of others; but this particular person seems to have that power over me). i was mortified. i felt like i was in a game of mental mortal kombat, and she had just performed a perfectly executed torso rip. there was nothing left of me except the bloodied entrails of my broken dream.

forward/back/circle. you're welcome

i guess what im trying to convey in this mentally diarrhetic explosion of a post is that, stupid little things, like, giving myself heat stroke, or, the critical words of a friend, or, at times not being able to form coherent sentences without having words crash together in a massive train wreck of random syllables and sounds.......these stupid little things have been making me question my competence a lot lately. perhaps rightfully so; perhaps not. but whatever the case, i see my newfound uncertainty refreshing. maybe its good for me. maybe when i step foot on campus again in the fall, i won't be so judgmental of my peers. I'll be able to realize that they have all the same doubts and concerns that i do; that they too are just trying to navigate their way through this weird stage in life as best they can. perhaps i'll be able to forgive their mistakes, and see them in a new light.....

but not really, though

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Random Thought of the Day: Karen Elson v. Meg White

In my mind, he will always belong to Meg.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Hives: The Band I Forgot to Love.

Back in 2002, I'd just gotten my first dose of real cable television, and was starting to open my eyes to the world of music. This resulted in the first album I'd ever asked for: Hybrid Theory.


However, 2002 was also the time when MTV2 was beginning to get very alternative with it's music videos and circulated them constantly with music-oriented shows. This was before it was dominated by the same 4 Jackass episodes.

Woah the episode where Chris is a devil in California...haven't seen THAT one before.

This opened my eyes to groups with much more raw talent, such as the White Stripes, the Strokes, but firstly and most notably...The Hives.

Why? Even at 12 years old and in all my nu-metal glory, I had a certain affinity for this band. Their most popular video, "Hate to Say I Told You So", was on constant rotation, and I was mesmerized by their uniforms and lead singer Howlin' Pete Almqvist's (Which sounds like a skateboard trick in Tony Hawk's Pro-Skater) eccentric yet captivating style. Something I felt represented an innate part of my then quirky self.

Not to mention their music. It was the first time alternative/garage/indie rock had caught my ear, something that now defines most of what I listen to. The stuttering rhythms and drum-fueled verses/choruses of their music always made me want to dance.

As opposed to cut myself.

Later that year, they had a "Battle of the Bands" style performance between them and the Vines on the MTV Music Video awards.

Quick tangent: I have to admit I've never hated Jimmy Fallon and Kirsten Dunst more in my life than in this lead-in. "HERE AREEE 2 OF OURRR FAAAAAVVOORITE NUUUBANDSSS". Why do you sound drunk Kirsten? And why do both of you look like you've excitedly dropped a fart bomb in a high school hallway?

Anyway, it was the last thing I prominently remembered about them back then. It was well-hyped by the channel; the two breakthrough bands not only brought their own reputations (The Hives' Pete was already touted as one of the greatest frontmen of all-time by this point, and the Vines were considered the second coming of Nirvana), but also MTV advertised the battle in every VMA commercial.

After that fantastic showcase, the Hives disappeared on me. Too young to buy my own albums or look up music on the Internet, I didn't claw any deeper for the Hives. That, and I was busy loving the Vines and Linkin Park. Then 2 years later I fell in love with Franz Ferdinand and Green Day's "American Idiot", and the Hives became nothing more than a vague reminder of 2002, if I thought of them at all.

I somehow got the idea to look up the Vines a couple days ago, and decided to review that battle of the bands between them and the Hives. I'd always appreciate the Vines' stronger and more raucous attitude, so I came into it with the bias that the Vines would win my heart again. Boy was I wrong.

And boy was I happy about it.

The Hives' style is infectious. They combine their rigid uniformity, all with matching suits reminiscent of the 1950's, with lyrics and music of a punk-inspiration. The contrast is strong and obvious, but they mesh together well. Particularly because of Pete, who acts as a sort of glue between the contradictory styles they combine. He fearlessly manages to put on a great performance every time thanks to his great wails and dance. All with a swagger that's just undeniably lovable. He says just before the Vines come on after their performance:

I know you want us to play more. But that's all the time we have, so you can turn off now!
The band then perfectly finishes off the performance behind him. It's fantastic.

It's sad that I didn't appreciate them when I could've. Everything about them, save for maybe the quirky uniforms, are styles/energies that I would love to encapsulate not only in music, but just about everything I do. They're loud, flamboyant, they don't give a shit, and love it that way.

The song/video that I personally love is "Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones". The riff is great, with a rhythm that is unique, stylish, and incredibly catchy. Hell, even the drumming is infectious, which almost never happens in music. The lyrics' punk-like swagger compliments Pete and the band as well:

"Best keep quiet
You don't listen to me anyway

You're gonna lose and it's gonna show

It's far too late to avoid it so

Oh what's that sum
It added up to nothing cause you're much too dumb

And the video is awesome as well. The band plays the intro in sync, each member perfectly expressing the music they're playing through their body. Particularly the lead guitarist, who's signature head-banging style never looked better. Then comes Pete rising from the ground, as the vocals kick in. The multiplying band members as well as the huge lights behind them all perfectly summarize the song. It's one of the best fitting music videos that I've ever seen; not only capturing the song's attitude, but amplifying it and giving it a sense of life.

I love this band man. Their imposing persona is something a lot of bands lack nowadays. Sure, bands have one or two members that you can easily remember, but the Hives' consistency and their huge personality is something bands don't seem to do anymore. They'd settle for wearing the same ol' clothes they got 3 years ago from Marshalls.

So while The Hives may be lost in indie obscurity thanks to bands of a similar ilk that popped up around the same time (As mentioned earlier, The Strokes, White Stripes, and later, the Arctic Monkeys), their unforgettable style and music will always be a reminder of why they deserve to be immortalized. And I'll cherish them for all the time I didn't these past 8 years.

Love you Swedish dorks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I'm generally not one to blog about personal feelings on a certain day. But lately I've felt I've been falling flat in terms of wit and humor, and it's a little intimidating, and also thought I should let the few of you know. Dunno what exactly it is, or what to do as far remedying it goes. It could be that walking around your house shirtless like a douchebag just automatically murders creative and humorous thought.

But I dunno. It's not so much writer's block. I like to think of it as a Sudden Intellectual Death Syndrome.

This hasn't been the first time I've been intellectually cockblocked (Or inappropriately compared my issues to a horrible child-related affliction). This is something that's happened about two or three times. The best word to describe it is decay. Where I'll feel like concepts and thoughts have a conclusion, but the road to them have become broken and withered, and don't hold up as strongly as they used to, and they certainly don't construct themselves as quickly as usual.

If I'm not mistaken, the remedy last time this happened was re-reading "1984". Maybe I should do that again, instead of singing Coldplay's "The Scientist" and feeling like an amazing crooner, like we all do when we sing Coldplay songs by ourselves.

Right? Right???

Friday, May 21, 2010


This is the first chapter of a zombie story I've been writing. It involves a mixture of things I love and friends of mine in real life, along with the always entertaining situation zombies pose. It's also a metaphor for something deeper, which I won't be giving away sadly.

The irony makes me smile every time; everything started off so routinely. I stared at Facebook for 15 minutes, as usual, with Alex Turner murmuring clever lines in my headphones as I awaited for my mom's inevitable "You hungry"?

"You hungry?", she asks as she enters the room.


The question always led to a yes followed by a "What do you want?" It's a deceptive question; a Hispanic family only offers a choice between frozen food, or rice and beans. Pretty shallow menu. I was Dominican though, so plantains was the bonus third choice. Woo-hoo.

"Do you want pizza or rice?" Guess plantains weren't available that night.

"Ehhhh." I responded, somewhat callously. I must have had rice 5 nights a week. I liked spicing things up.


It always disappointed me that spicing it up meant getting microwave pizza. But I'd live.

Later on, I was gearing for my nightly routine. Peeing, playing a Dead Kenndys riff out of insomnia on the guitar, wondering if masturbating's worth it tonight, and, hopefully, sleep. I examined myself in the mirror for a moment. I had shabby dark brown hair, ceasar-style, with a black Muse t-shirt hugging my admittedly skinny body as some "vintage" (Which was a hip way of saying "old ass") jeans covered my legs and draped over my white socks. My eyes were equally dark brown, face somewhat long.

I did this just to give myself a boost in self-confidence. I loved how in deep I was with my chosen rock sub-culture. It was a smugness that would soon be humbled.

I started walking out of my kitchen. I had a habit of scanning it when it was dark, my parents having long since gone to bed. The stove was as plain as it could be, with pots scattered on its squares, rice still in them. Previously filled glasses and my dog's water bowl had small drops of water twinkling from the TV glow that had escaped my room as I left the door open. My parents loved their water. I could live without it.

I lazily shuffled my way into the bathroom, and turned on the light. Parents' bedroom was a door away, but I slammed the door I came through anyway. Being 19 doesn't offer much room for courtesy. I heard the disgruntled groans of my father in the bedroom. "You'll go back to sleep", I murmured.

I scuttled pass the porcelain sink and made my way to the toilet, which was to the left of a tub that was covered by a couple of sliding mirrors. I lifted the toilet seat, and began whipping it out of my pants. I was satisfied by the stream, and began relaxing. As the stream slowed, I felt the looming shadow of my father in front of the bedroom door. Odd that he'd come right in as I'm peeing, but I wasn't bothered.

His silence threw me off however, so I decided to break the ice.

"Don't you hate those post-piss drops? You gotta shake them off and shit. So irritating." I quipped as I tucked myself in.

He replied with a quiet, but heavy sigh.

"Alright I'm goin--" I said, as I tilted my head in his direction. I found myself quieted as I peered into his lifeless eyes and colorless skin. He had nothing but his boxers on.

"You okay...Dad?"

After some silence, I reached for his face, but stopped. The lack of warmth suggested I shouldn't.

"Oh shit. No way!"

He dropped his jaw completely and let out a strange roar, his breath wreaking of death. He placed both arms up and lunged at me. I gasped and dropped downward to avoid his pounce. He crashed into the mirror as we traded places. He turned around and repeated the same motion as I made a break for the door, but the moment I escaped the bathroom, another obstacle stood in my way.

" she said. My mom, still in her robes, was not very intimidating. I paused for a second, but knew I had to keep moving. I tackled her to the ground and made it to my room, slamming and locking the door as I got in.

"What are the fucking odds...what are the fucking odds...WHAT ARE THE FUCKING ODDS" I kept repeating. I had to start planning the exit. There was no escape from my room besides going through the kitchen. I'd have to...

"I HAVE TO FUCKING FIGHT THEM" I yelled, with the greatest "WHY GOD WHY" inflection possible. But there was little room for me to start a relationship with God when Dominican zombie parents were clawing at my bedroom door.

I started placing ym classic Chuck Taylor's on and began zipping my head back and forth, trying to find my weapon of choice. There was only one decent candidate: my guitar. I pocketed the car keys near the computer and began staring at the knob.

"Okay. How do you fight a zombie. Man I fucking brought all those Max Brooks books as a joke." I thought. Humor and irony was my savior in tense situations.

"Fighting two zombies up front is stupid...I need to play it smart here..."

I situated myself to the right of door, so that I was out of sight from the outside. I started gripping the knob.

"They're your parents..." I said, bracing myself, "But they're zombies now...zombie parents, but, zombies...alright...alright.."

I let out a deep sigh and pulled the door open, letting it swing freely in the opposite direction. I moved my arm out of sight as quickly as possible. I held my breath, like a sniper preparing a shot. I gripped the guitar's neck with both hands and kept it set next to my left leg, waiting for the opportunity to swing it up and forward.

The footsteps are what fucked me up the most. I flinched a little as they apprehensively tapped the floor, with a slow and lurching tempo. Each step grew louder as it crept towards the door; it knew I was around. It was growing eager.

It finally placed its foot into the door way. The blue hue from the TV illuminated the leg. Slippers. My mother.

Her body came into view. I clinched my face and immediately let out a yell. Her head spun in my direction, but found itself smashed as I violently introduced it to the back of my guitar. The clang of its strings filled the tense air as they bounced off her brittle, and now cracked, skull. Blood spurted onto my face and splotched on the guitar. The force lifted her from the floor for a bit and sent her staggering back until she fell.

I moved in front of her and stared. It was a difficult sight; she was laid out on the ground motionless, her head caved in. But there was no room for mourning yet.

I stepped over her and looked at the end of the darkened kitchen to find the silhouette of my father.

"Shit. Shit shit shit." I uttered. No other choice; had to move right through. Gripping its neck, I ran at my dad with the guitar held over me like a samurai making a dash at his foe. He ran for me with the same intensity.

"Oh come on, they're not even slow zombies!" I thought to myself.

I swung as soon as I felt I could connect, but was startled. He stopped the guitar with his arms, and pierced my ears with a ferocious scream. He was but a couple steps away from me, and was going for my throat. In a matter of nanoseconds, I came upon a realization.

If he was as fast as a regular guy...he could fall like one too.

I instantly brought my right foot up and smashed his genitals in, which buckled his knees. I proceeded to bring down my newly freed guitar from its height onto his head, which was at my stomach, and smashed it, lacing my shoes with fluids and creating a vicious busting sound. Dead.

I began breathing heavily. I hadn't realized that I was holding my breath during the encounter. I walked towards the door in the living room, which was not far from a grand set of windows covered by curtains. I turned back before I left. I couldn't ignore having killed my parents, zombie or not. I teared somewhat as I let things sink in. All I could hear was the sound of my breathing as I saw the bodies of my mother and father lying a couple yards away. It was unreal.

Taps began to fill the air.

"What." I said with disbelief.

It got louder.

"WHAT." I said emphatically, frantically scanning the kitchen.

It sped up in tempo.


The water bowl was empty.

I looked behind me to find my dog in midair, eyes pale and teeth unsheathed. I thought of making this kill particularly flashy. I could dodge it, then smash him. Kick him, then smash him. Or even him punch him out of the air. Then smash him.

"Aww fuck it."

I swung my guitar to the left, and simply smashed him out of the sky and onto the floor beside me.

"Just smash 'em." I said to myself.

I sat down for a moment. My immediate family. My dog. Dead. All this just after I had to piss. I wanted to bury them, give them their proper respect. No one deserved this kind of death. Much less to be laid out on the kitchen floor and left there. My doctrine respects life more than that. But I couldn't risk infection. And staying put was not an option.

I got up and opened the door. I looked at the kitchen of bodies for a second.

"I'll live as much as I can for you guys." I promised to myself.

I exited the house, entered the car, threw my guitar in the back, and turned it on. "Brianstorm" spilled from the speakers and cut the night sky as I texted the closest friend to me to find out her status. Needed to set up the group. "Might as well start now", I thought.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Trip to NY/Philosophical epiphany

Went to NYC yesterday with DalaiMama (CHANGE IT!!!) and another friend. It's a place that while being right next to my home city, never ceases to amaze me in one way or another. Every little moment spent there is almost unforgettable simply because of NYC's atmosphere and culture.

However, when DalaiMama (CHANGE IT!!!!) decided she needed to go to this hypnotic landmark of style, posh, and indescribable bravado, she had one particular item in mind:


It reads "My name is Mink. I like to read the fantasy story. I am very excited when I read."

We were at a place called the Pearl River Mart on Canal street. It's a huge store, resembling those 3 floor department shops you'll find on occasion. It sells every imaginable Asian item that anyone ever needed to see in order to figure out that they suck at translating English.

Many borderline racist Asian accent jokes ensued.

She brought a couple more containers similar to it, with equally as adorable messages. Our favorite was "I am Rhinda. I love the white cake." To which she was disturbed by its adorable and subtle racism.

The walk from the train station to the building equivalent of was a quaint 10-15 minute trip. Me and my friend kept the humor alive, doing things such as yelling at tourists that Dalai was a queen, and me pretending to guide entire groups of strangers as they crossed the street.

The walk back was more perplexing, however, as our friend led us through the financial area, primarily Wall Street. I totally hated it. It's the mecca of everything that's wrong with the economy, and it made me and Dalai feel alienated.

It was like forcing a cat into a bathtub for me.

It was fun though, as we continued our exciting teenage habits by telling people they'd drop something as they hopelessly cranked their heads back to find nothing.

Also, there was this amazingly attractive girl who stood in front of me during one portion of our walk back. Red-head, short, nice body, gauges, black everything. She was meant to break my heart and never knew it. Don't even know why I mentioned this. Perhaps because I'm still in love.

Anyway, here are some pictures as we headed back home.

Michael J. Fox's immortalized signature in the train station.

Dalai and friend posing in front of said signature.

Friend being caught off-guard as he looks at Dalai.

She kept reading other people's newspapers. Very rude.

A picture of a stranger that will smartly sue me for posting this here.

Don't know why I took it to be honest. Coming from NYC, I always become allured by strangers. This was kind of the result of that.

Dalai standing in front of me, describing the article she'd nosily read off a paper.

And/or impersonating a fish.

Philosophy 101: Having come back from NY and the courageous little romp we had as we yelled at strangers and made asses of ourselves, what drives me personally to those things is the insane amount of people that constantly crisscross the sidewalks. I'm used to it having lived in populated urban settings all my life, but it's like the mecca of congested sidewalks. So it never stops surprising me.

Literally, there are tons, and tons, and tons of people.

However, the reason why it's a motivator is because, after about 6 minutes of shellshock from avoiding people and focusing on them as they pass by, the up-tempo shuffle of walking through NYC becomes a kind of autonomous involuntary motion.

At some point you just know you have to avoid these people to progress, and so your body just does. Eventually, people (the living, breathing, human organisms around you), become mere obstacles in the way of your destination after a while. They kind of lose their humanity. Makes me a little sad in a way.

So in a (perhaps vain) attempt to shock them out of their lull, I do absurd things like say "COME ON EVERYONE! LET'S CROSS THIS STREET TOGETHER!" out loud. I wanna make them realize the vibrancy of people in the middle of their routine walks.

Point is, don't let the strangers around you become lifeless obstacles. You kind of miss out on life that way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Old Bands Suck: The Ones I Hate.

The previous blog, as mentioned, was meant to show that I don't have a bias in the way I approach the whole attack on overly-revered bands. That even bands I like are subject to the same criticism.

This time, however, I'm biased as hell. And I hate these bands and the reputation that precedes them.

Yessss. Embrace your blogspot criticisms.

To start, I was going to pick one or two specifics bands. But I realized that they, amongst others, share the same awfulness, and all deserved to be verbally shot firing squad-style. So let's line 'em up:

Poison. Or what I wish I was drinking as I see this picture.

Warrant. Or what I wish I had in order to arrest them.

Fun (but not a) fact: The last two pictures were taken in the same Sears photo studio.

White Snake. Or what I wish was choking the life out of me right about now.

And two juggernauts of the era:

Bon Jovi. Who clearly killed gay pirates and stole their clothing.

Van Halen. This picture makes my nonexistent soul hurt.

Before I fire, I'll make it clear the impact these ridiculous bands have had in music, as well as their overblown stature in the rock music picture.

Poison: Has sold 14.5 million records in the US, with six Billboard top 10 singles and one #1 hit (Every Rose has its Thorn)

Warrant: Two huge albums, particularly "Cherry Pie" and "Dirty Rotten Stinkin' Filthy Rich", both going double platinum.

Whitesnake: Named the 85th greatest hard rock band by VH1, with three albums going a total 22x Platinum in 3 different countries.

Bon Jovi: Inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, Songwriters' Hall of Fame, the "Award of Merit" (Whatever the fuck that means) from the American Music Awards, with an insane amount of number albums and singles, as well as a tremendous amount of sales.

Van Halen: Sold 80 million albums worldwide, is the 19th-best selling rock band in America, and Eddie Van Halen is widely hailed as one of rock's most legendary guitarists.

Where do I even begin? I don't know what gun to fire first. No wait, I do.

The style.

The entire decade of the 80s was seemingly more dependent on the way you looked than what it is you played. This is evidenced by the consistent look of these bands; they gutted the Ozone layer with their favorite bottle of Rave hairspray as they murdered the color palette with the gayest collage of clothes and makeup anyone has ever wore. Ever.


Truth be told: I don't know what particular band this is. But I'm pretty sure they're sodomites.

The lyrics.

It amazes me the hypocrisy that many rock fans show over lyrical content in hip-hop/rap on the Internet criticizing it for its shallow lyrics and objectification of women. Because seriously, these 5 bands, staples of '80s rock and dubbed "classic" by radio stations and your mechanic named "Joey", have the most piss-poor lyrics with the worst themes and messages. Let's plow through the first verses of their biggest hits in order:

Poison - Talk Dirty to Me:

You know I never
I never seen you look so good
You never act the way you should
But I like it
And I know you like it too
The way that I want you
I gotta have you
Oh yes, I do"

Warrant - Cherry Pie:

"She's my cherry pie
Cool drink of water
Such a sweet suprise
Taste so good
Make a grown man cry
Sweet cherry pie"

Whitesnake - Is This Love:

I should have known better
Than to let you go alone
It's times like these
I can't make it on my own
Wasted days, and sleepless nights
An' I can't wait to see you again"

Bon Jovi- Wanted: Dead or Alive (You might know it as that overplayed cowboy song):

"It's all the same, only the names will change
Everyday, it seems we're wastin' away
Another place, where the faces are so cold
I drive all night, just to get back home

I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted dead or alive
Wanted dead or alive "

Van Halen - Hot for Teacher:

"T-T-Teacher stop that screaming, teacher don't you see ?
Don't wanna be no uptown fool.
Maybe I should go to hell, but I'm doin' well,
teacher needs to see me after school.

I think of all the education that I missed.
But then my homework was never quite like this.

Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad,
I'm hot for teacher.
I got it bad, so bad,
I'm hot for teacher. "

Admittedly, Bon Jovi and Whitesnake did well to avoid the derogatory women stuff. They failed to, however, avoid sounding yucktastic. I mean, seriously, I'm a cowboy; on a steel horse I ride? What does that even mean?

But where would we be without the very thing that makes them iconic: The music.

Poison, Whitesnake, and Warrant are nearly indistinguishable with their focus on glam rock, power ballads, and repetitive ass chords. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn, "Is This Love", and "Heaven" might as well be on the same goddamn album.

Oh wait, they are.

Same with their more signature singles like "Talk Dirty to Me" , "Cherry Pie", and "Here I Go Again".

Oh wait, they are.

Bon Jovi's lyrical prowess was a little stronger, but they still managed to sound incredibly trite and corny with songs like "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' on a Prayer", and the previously mentioned "Wanted". Especially "You Give Love a Bad Name"; because no one has ever accused a chick of being a shit girlfriend in a song before. Then you count its fantastically forgettable music and the cheesy guitar solo, and you've got yourself a lesson in controlling your gag reflex.

By the way, if Bon Jovi earns hall of fame statuses for this crap, I want the White Stripes getting inducted everywhere within the next 5 years.

They're far more talented and creative overall than any band in this blog.

I'll give Van Halen some leeway though. Musically, they were more interesting, with songs like "Hot For Teacher" not only showing off Eddie's guitar talent, but Roth's powerful vocals, and Alex Van Halen's headspinning drumming.

"Runnin' With the Devil", though, is a song that people like bringing up when they praise Van Halen. The song's intro and solo sounds great, but when you realize that the rest of the song is almost exactly the same as the intro, it becomes less special. And I can't help but to feel an embarrassing knot every time that chorus comes through and those Roth squeals scratch the background as the backup vocals repeat "Runnin' With the Devil" in the whitest way possible.

And I will never, ever, forgive them for "Jump". The synth riff and pre-chorus makes me wanna jump onto them.

And hope they disappear.

It's unabashedly '80s and corny, and is probably a rip-off of Journey's equally as ridiculous "Don't Stop Believing", which similarly uses a synth piano as a core part of the music, fuses it with guitar, and has similar notes. "Jump" is also the only song of Van Halen's that hit #1 overall on the Billboard charts, making it arguably their most popular song.

These are songs and bands that, by description, should've and could've been forgettable. Awful styles, absolutely meaningless lyrics, and completely trite and repetitive music; and yet, somehow, they've attained this immortal status as pioneers of rock music, with no one seemingly up to challenging their inscrutable standard.

Even Van Halen, which is the only band as far as I can tell from this group that actually displayed some strong musical skill, has garnered way more respect than it deserves, quite frankly.

And guess what? There's still one more band that's bigger than all of these, and deserve even more criticism. But they never receive it. Even when they released what is easily their worst album ever last year, we all kind of swept it under the rug. But that's for the next one of course.

Because this took me 2 hours to type.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Old Bands Suck: The Ones I Like.

There's one very beautiful thing me and my lazy female co-writer agree on that many people, for whatever reason, are reluctant to suggest: The idea that iconic rock bands can be musically shitty.

Admittedly, this is much easier to say with a blog's demographic being 17-20 year old females. British in some instances.

Blimey what's all that American rock now????

You guys all say "Blimey" right?

If it were an audience of white guys who lived in New Jersey and are 38 years old, I'd be pushing the envelope. Still, these are things that need to be said:

Classic rock bands, generally...suck.

Truth is, many bands that have solidified themselves into that brand of rock are musically flawed and pretty shallow. But they're closely intertwined with the nostalgia and sweet memories of the ruling generations' younger heydays. So we're forced to sit there and think it's badass. And that's the illusion I'm trying to break.

Of course this is excluding most if not all the music that popped up in the 60's and early '70s; which was decent and original (for the most part). It's mostly the iffy era past 1978 or so, when they somehow realized "Man we have lots of sex with girls!" or decided that a synthesizer was a good idea.

I'll get to you faggots later.

And it doesn't help that the only rock radio stations in the New York market, the number one radio market in the US, primarily play this era of rock.

But just to prove I'm not a (totally) arrogant teenage dickhead, I'll start out my rock-themed blitzkrieg with my two favorite bands of the "classic rock" era, starting with the Dead Kennedys.

Featuring Woody Allen on the far left.

No it's not actually Woody Allen.

Lead by (not really a) vocalist/all-around loud person Jello Biafra, the Dead Kennedys are a legendary punk band, acclaimed for their clever lyrics and original music, as well as setting a precedent for what punk bands came to sound and act like.

Secretly, though, no one seems to mention how Jello Biafra sounds like a seizing special needs kid 80% of the time. Particularly in songs like "Holiday in Cambodia", a favorite of mine and a staple of their's. From the very beginning, Jello breaks in with a "SO" that's yelped like a highly-offended gay guy, and breaks the deliciously ominous intro of the guitars and drum.

Asian political gripes are fabulloouusssssss

The signature sound of Jello's cartoony vocals spoil other songs like "California Uber Alles" and "Too Drunk to Fuck", because ultimately, they're not actually vocals. Anyone who's familiar with music can tell the guy's just kind of vibrating his loud throat against the music, which is just an odd sort of rapping. Especially in "Too Drunk to Fuck", where he turns a pulsating punk chorus into wabbit hunting season.

Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm too dwunk to fuck.

Also, the group grew overwhelming and self-indulgent in pretentiously artsy way. Especially after their first two albums, the band seemed pretty in love with the idea of being political avant-gardes and being intellectually superior, as shown by their flings with jazz and Jello's gradually insufferable political lyrics.

Next is a band who's sound is indisputably associated with that ol' rock music that every balding white guy with an American flag-themed bandana blasts from his Chevy's audio system: AC/DC.

No! How could you?!?!?

Yes. Yes I could. AC/DC has several things going for it: at their peak, the music had a raw power in its instrumentals and vocals that was unparalleled in a time when keytars and dorks named Phil Collins were beginning to rule the world.

I wish he hadn't.

My biggest gripe with AC/DC, however, is that their lyrics are about as deep as a Cardigan sweater's pocket. Songs such as "You Shook Me Up All Night Long", "For Those About to Rock...", and "Girls Got Rhythm". I mean, seriously, these lyrics from "You Shook Me Up" could've been ripped out of some 2009 hip-hop song if I didn't know better:

"She had the sightless eyes,
Telling me no lies,
Knockin' me out with
them American thighs.

Taking more than her share,
Had me fighting for air,
She told me to come but I
was already there.

'Cause the walls start shaking,
The earth was quaking,
My mind was aching,
And we were making it and you.

Shook me all night long,
Yeah you,
Shook me all night long, "

Add some Wayne, some autotune; it'd be a fantastic diarrhea.

They were also musically repetitive. The constant use of power chords, very similar lyrical themes (If it wasn't about a chick, it was about how you're supposed to rock, which is totally not cheesy at all), and similar musical structures which featured Angus Young's inevitably overdone guitar solo.

Give him 13 minutes, that's when he REALLY kicks in!!!

It's not to say these two bands suck, though. I picked these two to show just how flawed a revered band can be. Think of it this as an appetizer for the next blog later today. You know, for the bands I actually hate.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sorry Anna.

Ahh, Mother's Day. Every early May, Hallmark aisles across the country explode with customers, as they buy plastic dedications with poetry about as deep as a toilet bowl. At CVS, I looked into the aisle, which was constantly filled with people yesterday, and thought to myself, "Where did this holiday come from?" I mean, who decided there needed to be a day to force people to cherish their mom?

Fake fun fact: Tupac started it.

Here in the US, the holiday was rallied on by a woman named Anna Jarvis. She started her campaign on May 12th, 1907, 2 years after her mother died, when she honored her mother in a memorial. She felt it was necessary that there be a day for moms everywhere to be celebrated.

Keep in mind that in the early 1900s, women were only capable of being babymakers, foodcookers, and threadweavers, and were still about 2 decades away from being able to vote.

So they kinda needed Mother's Day back then.

Jarvis got her wish in 1914, when Woodrow Wilson saw Jarvis' efforts in West Virginia, where she'd manage to get her local church and later the governor to recognize the holiday through various letters. He approved the resolution which celebrated Mother's Day as a national holiday.

One down, one to go!

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for Jarvis to start bitching; she began attacking various groups and people for abusing Mother's Day as a way to generate money. She clashed with the likes of "American War Mothers Association" for their overuse of the term in their fundraisers, and even Eleanor Roosevelt of "crafty plotting" to use Mother's Day as a means of fundraising for the research of high maternal and infant mortality rates.

Oh Eleanor, you clever cunt!

Admittedly, Jarvis was a bit out of line on the last one; she was practically foaming at the mouth whenever she saw any situation where Mother's Day was used as a money-generator. But who can blame her: The simple holiday, which was in honor of a mother she so deeply loved, was beginning to look like a major cash cow, and she didn't want her mother to be a seed for that. So perhaps her volcanic bitching was a little crazy. But it was understandable.

She went on to spend her entire inheritance to campaigning against the commercialization of Mother's Day for the rest of her life, until she passed away in 1948; never becoming a mother of her own.

It's been 101 years since Jarvis decided her mom deserved a special day. To see it now become the focal point of companies such as Hallmark, Sears, Best Buy, and dozens of others is anti-Jarvis, and by association, anti-Mother's Day.

In short, write a letter. Hug your mom. Take her to a special place. Whatever you do, just keep your wallet in your back pocket. And if you didn't do it yesterday, make sure you utter these 2 words:

Sorry Anna.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The ambition to talk to strangers.

If there's one monumental thing I can thank my meager job at a pharmacy for is popping my "oh noes people!" cherry.

When you're a teenager, talking to people is the most awkward situation. No eye contact. Keep your voice low. The only way to gain some bravery is if you're surrounded by 2 other dorks your age.

I drew the dicks.

And the smallest bit of contact with people makes young teens giggle their pubescent asses off. I remember being at the movies once for the Friday the 13th remake (Which also doubled as the worst 10 dollars I'd ever spent. In my life.), and there was a guy in the crowd wearing the Jason hockey mask. As he crept through a populated row, one of the Hispanic girls he passed by awkwardly remarked "You always wear that mask?", which was to the delight of her friends as they laughed.

I mean, seriously? "You always wear that mask?" made 5 people laugh? She didn't even say it funny. Nothing in that moment had any sort of comedy whatsoever.

Much like Sinbad's career actually.

But it worked. And I'm sure it'll be one of those "Oh my God Isabella do you remember that Jason guy???" moments in 3 years.

That's all it takes for young teens to laugh and feel brave.

Not like they had high standards anyway.

I thank my job for relinquishing me from that shy bullshit and, at least, heightening my standards of interaction with random people. It's given me the ability to just be an overall better human being. You can make someone's day with your kindness, comedy, or you intellectuality, as opposed to sitting on a bus and looking like quiet hipster douchebag by being open. You can even make a once-in-a-lifetime moment for yourself. And my job has given me the tools to do this.

Besides, I like to think it makes the world a brighter place when you have the balls to stand up from your seat for a disabled lady on a train, or help a blind man walk to his destination.

Or to yell like a jackass from the passenger side of your parents' car.